My latest cover illustration is designed to foldout from the cover of the printed report.
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After three solid months of production, hundreds of hours, and many bleary-eyed nights this project can be unveiled.
2 complete cover concepts and illustrations (version 2)
3 design layouts
7 full page illustrations
18 spot illustrations
4 page variations for stack
2 color variations
16x9 web image
prepping dozens of artwork/files
many dozens of rounds of revisions for all of the above
Application Security Tiers and Attackers
Chapter & Section Artwork
Introduction Layout and Design
Sooner or later, if you create commercial art, you'll have your best work rejected by committee. It's part of the job. This is one of those projects. I'll be going back to the drawing board, but I wanted to share this work as is.
I'm very proud of this solution – It represents some of the smartest conceptual work I've ever done.
I was tasked with "updating" the following graphic. This graphic is the foundational concept behind my client's entire business. In other words, it's been used to sell their services for years.
At first glance, there seems to be a lot of information being presented. What you don't see is any real clue describing what's happening. Without the assistance of paragraphs of text or a salesperson, the viewer is left to their own devices to derive any meaning.
The application "stack" is represented by icons that tell the viewer very little. And the accompanying text identifiers are equally amorphous.
You'll also note a variety of graphic elements that are meant to clue the viewer in to a larger idea, but all of these elements largely fail to create a cohesive visual narrative for anyone trying to decipher the graphic.
The solution I arrived at solves these issues — I created visual metaphors that accurately depict what literally happens at each tier. The simplicity of the imagery and design affords a viewer with no prior knowledge of the basic concepts a means of "creating" a narrative for themselves without the help of accompanying text.
The "isometric" grid underlying this illustration helps create a plane for the tiers. I added flags at each level to help draw the users eye through the entire illustration. Once the basic art was created, I made a few slight adjustments to accommodate the text for the next two graphics.
Overall, this is a highly successful piece. That it was a casualty of "committee" is just a consequence of opinion. It happens.
Stay tuned for the next version.
The latest latest illustration for F5 Labs IoT Report.
[From the report] "The world is just now catching onto how useful IoT devices are; the industry is in its startup phase just scratching the surface of its future potential. If you follow the “diffusion of innovations” theory, we haven’t yet crossed the chasm of IoT potential, or mainstream global market adoption.
The cell phone is the only IoT device type that has hit the mainstream market with adoption rates past 50% of the global population. When the majority of the world is online, smart homes with dozens of internet enabled devices and smart cities will be everywhere instead of only in the hands of the early adopters. At that point, IoT thingbots could threaten global stability if we don’t start doing something about it now."
Full Version and Cover Version
Pencil drawing presented to F5 for concept approval.
The third volume of F5Labs's Threat Analysis Report was a blast to draw. My challenge for this issue was to create robots that visually represented the most common IoT devices exploited by attackers worldwide ... affectionately called, "Thingbots". What artist doesn't enjoy drawing robots?
How were the robots created?
Both robots were hand-sketched with a 2B pencil, then scanned, and imported into Procreate on the iPad. The drawing was then refined, flat color was added, then exported as a PSD using Airdrop. The final piece was modeled in Photoshop and placed in the report layout using InDesign. Easy peasy.
Selected pages from the second whitepaper OddBurton designed and illustrated for F5Labs Threat Analysis Reports: The Hunt for IoT: The Networks Building Death Star-Sized Botnets from IoT Minions.
How was the artwork created?
I created numerous very rough pencil sketches to work out the initial layout of all the objects within the iceberg. Once I had the arrangement I composed in my headspace worked out, the final flat-color painting was created entirely in Procreate on the iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil. I drew the house and the top of the iceberg separately, then composited the bottom of the iceberg and the top in Photoshop. The final artistic touches including the iceberg planing, shading, some of the smaller objects like the narwhal and seagulls, and the text were added in Photoshop.
The artwork for this heavily illustrated report entitled: Using F5Labs Application Threat Intelligence was drawn entirely on an iPad Pro and colorized in Photoshop.
Worth noting that the concept for this piece is a visual representation of the Four Domains of Warfare as established by the Department of Defense: Land, sea, air, and space. In 1995, a fifth dimension was added: Cyber space (denoted by connected dots).
How was the artwork created?
Nearly all of my work begins with a pencil. This piece was no exception. I drew a very rough sketch to layout all of the objects in the landscape, took a photo, and imported the sketch into the Procreate app on the iPad. All of the line work was drawn using an Apple pencil in Procreate. The line drawing was exported as a PSD and imported into Photoshop to add color.
Selected pages from F5Labs 2016 TLS Telemetry Report.
How was the artwork created?
The cover illustration started as a pencil sketch which was photographed using an iPhone, then pulled into Adobe Illustrator for reference. The entire finished piece was rendered in Illustrator. The sweeping dot stream was created line by line, converted to outlines, then placed, duplicated or deleted by hand to achieve the "data" look. Yes, I went cross-eyed.
DDoS's Newest Minions: IoT Devices represents the first quarterly white paper that I designed and illustrated for F5Labs Threat Analysis Reports. You can view or download the full document here.
All told, this project required approximately 150 hours to complete the visual presentation including all illustrations and graphic design.
For comparison, I've included a selection of corresponding pages from the original report below.
How was the artwork created?
The cover illustration was drawn and inked entirely by hand. The final rendering was scanned, then imported into Photoshop to clean up the line work and add color.
Last August, I was approached by a long-time friend, Justin Shattuck, about a potential opportunity with a local web security firm to illustrate and design a quarterly report published by F5Labs that utilized data aggregated by an analysis tool he developed called Loryka. The product of this tool is a highly detailed report and he wanted to add an illustrated flair to what was a very plain document ... Hence, a late night phone call to tell me that he'd passed my name along to the VP of F5Labs. Turns out that the VP had already seen my work at the Ballard Beer Co. and admonished Justin to "get [me] in here tomorrow!"
Given the fact that design is severely lacking across the web security industry as a whole and that the current benchmark produced by a competing firm was, shall we say, uninspiring, I knew immediately this was a golden opportunity to significantly raise the bar. There are few things I enjoy more than a challenge and concocting visual representations of an obtuse topic ranks among the most challenging tasks that I've been faced with up to this point in my career.
My task, as I chose to frame it, was to establish a new benchmark for design in the web security industry.
I was given mostly free reign to follow my creative instincts within the confines of their brand identity. The initial design was unceremoniously scrapped and I started fresh with the intention of using custom art to help convey the abstract themes of each report through editorial illustrations, vignettes, updated graphs and charts, and vastly improved content layout.
Due to my work on the first Threat Analysis Report, I was given the opportunity to design two additional reports as well. Thus far, I've completed four whitepapers that average twenty-five pages in length. Every single visual aspect of each report from design to the artwork to the graphs and charts have been completely re envisioned by OddBurton. I'm damned proud of the work and thrilled to be working with the stellar team at F5.
Click on the covers below to view selected design and illustration samples from each report:
Special thanks to Justin Shattuck and Sara Boddy for patiently describing the security landscape and suggesting potential concepts, Debbie Walkowski for her editing, and Preston Hogue for giving me a chance.